I am about to commit what I hear from certain sections of the blogging community is a cardinal sin.
In the interests of making things crystal clear for those of you that might prefer to run screaming, and just in case the title wasn't a complete give away, this is... wait for it... a blog post about blogging. I know. I'm bad.
A few things prompted me to begin writing this post. Reading and enjoying other posts about blogging, for example this one from Notes From Lapland, and this one from Black Hockey Jesus, but mostly - and this is the crux of my point on which I shall elaborate shortly - reading back through my earliest posts which I believe (but for a few exceptions) to be better than my most recent ones.
Being something of a closet Luddite, I only got connected to the internet in December last year. I set up an e-mail account, found a few old friends on facebook and pottered about on mumsnet for a bit. Then after a week or so, and armed only with my Readers Digest: 'How to do just about anything on a computer' I set up a site using Blogger and published my first ever post. I was thrilled - and that is no exaggeration - by the medium of blogging. Still am. I couldn't believe it, anyone with an internet connection could self-publish whatever they wanted. That to me was revolutionary. It was anarchic and exciting but most importantly I felt, it was a great equalizer. I've always been a sucker for a good free for all.
Lately though I've come to the realisation that many things have been distracting me from the writing, which is after all supposed to be the point. New discoveries such as Twitter, statcounter (I have a sad obsession with the recent visitor map - don't ask) and feedburner, make it hard to concentrate on creating actual content. I find myself checking my e-mail at regular half an hour intervals like a trained lab rat in the hope that there will be a new comment waiting juicily in my inbox to be published. After all who doesn't love getting comments? They are part of what makes blogging the unique medium it is - the ability for the writer to interact with their readers is what can make the posts come alive. The knowledge that someone is not only reading what I have to say, but that they can relate to it enough to want to comment and add to it is fantastic. But getting too caught up in the trappings of blogging along with the self imposed pressure I feel to produce a certain number of posts each week is, I feel, driving down the quality of my writing (not that I think I'm Margaret bloody Atwood, but ya know, I want to be the best I can.)
I have also discovered that I am not in any way immune to blogging insecurity. I find myself wondering why certain posts didn't receive many comments. I compare myself unfavourably to other new bloggers. I worry that I'm not up to scratch.
Today I discovered that someone had blocked me on Twitter. I have absolutely no idea why. I don't think I've ever had any contact with this person, or even commented on their blog - I'd seen them about the blogosphere and was interested in what they had to say - so put in a request to follow them, that is all. The reason I'm (sob) sharing this is because on finding that I had been blocked, I then spent the next fifteen minutes checking through all my tweets to see if I had said anything that could possibly have offended anybody. Fifiteen minutes that could have been spent writing and enjoying my blog. Why do I care that someone with whom I don't even have a passing virtual acquaintance has blocked me from following them? I don't know. I do though.
So I think perhaps I need to go back all of three months to my blogging roots. I need to remember why I started blogging, I need to remember that virtually everyone I have met in the blogosphere has gone out of their way to be friendly and supportive, and most of all I need to get over my existential blogging angst, because frankly it's boring even me now.
I am really interested to know if other bloggers experience blogging insecurity - and if they feel that it can affect the quality of their writing. Have you devised ways of guarding against it? Please feel free to share anything that comes to mind.